Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Embracing Shattuck-St. Mary’s outreach into the Faribault community May 4, 2018

An arch frames Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


THURSDAY EVENING I ATTENDED a free concert by the Minnesota Sinfonia. At Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault.

This evening, if I choose, I can attend “The Wizard of Oz on Ice.” Again, at no charge and on the campus of Shattuck, a prestigious private prep school in Faribault. The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Figure Skating Club show begins at 7 p.m. in the SSM Sports Complex.


The Shattuck-St. Mary’s Crack Squad performs in the 2015 Faribault Memorial Day parade. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


Then, at 1 p.m. Sunday, I can attend a Town Drill. Again, at no charge, at Shattuck and at 1 p.m. in Johnson Gym. The Wooden Soldiers Drill Team, celebrating its 100th anniversary, performs along with The Crack Squad. That precision drill squad first performed in 1882.


In the Shumway Hall entry hall, carolers sing for Christmas Walk guests. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I appreciate how Shattuck continues to open its doors to the community through free events like these and the annual Campus Christmas Walk and community Easter Egg Hunt. And I appreciate, too, the Fesler-Lampert and Acoustic Roots Performing Arts Series which brings musicians, theatre and more to this historic campus. I attended the St. Paul-based History Theatre’s “Sweet Land the musical” here in October. Had Shattuck not brought the production to Faribault, I never would have seen this show based on one of my favorite movies.


The Shattuck-St. Mary’s campus features beautiful stone buildings constructed in the 1800s, including Shumway Hall with its landmark bell tower. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


While the arts series events are typically pay-for shows, the Sinfonia concert on Thursday was free, as are all concerts by this Twin Cities-based orchestra. For someone like me who has only been to an orchestra concert several times in her life, this is an absolute gift. To listen to music ranging from soothing to barn dance raucous by professional musicians in such an historic theatre simply made me happy. Several times I tipped my head back to take in the wood-wrapped walls and ceiling, then turned to view sunlight streaming colors through clustered narrow stained glass windows. The cool of the evening wafted through open windows as did the chimes of the Shumway Hall clock tower bell. Musicians, in a quirky interruption, paused to let the chimes ring before continuing their concert.


The Chapel of the Good Shepherd on the Shattuck campus. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


As the Sinfonia director noted, Shattuck could be a setting for a Harry Potter movie. I agree. This place of massive, aged stone buildings has that look. It feels more like a college campus than a prep school excelling in academics, the arts and sports. I am grateful for its presence in Faribault. And I am grateful for a school that welcomes the community onto its campus.

If you’ve never been to Shattuck, I’d encourage you to attend an event there, to take in the historic beauty of this place on Faribault’s east side.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Embracing Shattuck-St. Mary’s outreach into the Faribault community”

  1. valeriebollinger Says:

    Such a beautiful place offering such wonderful events for all. We enjoyed last night’s concert a lot!

  2. hotlyspiced Says:

    That’s a beautiful entrance to a school. And what a pretty town. America has a lot of undiscovered gems like this and it’s wonderful that you are putting these places on the map xx

  3. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    I’m glad you make a point of attending all the open events, you can represent all of us that live too far away for the open and school events. There were eras not so long ago that walking the main halls of Shattuck and St. Mary’s was to whisper. I grew up in the SMH house back of the gym, Dad was there 1925-1957, died months before I was to start 9th gr. at SMH. Mom also had a long career there before the MS hit. We had to wait for my daughter to be a Daughter SSM ’83. It is rare for a town to have the many schools history Faribault has. The Deaf school was also a big part of our lives. The SSM Middle School campus is a safe place in a time when life isn’t so safe for our children. How blessed they are to worship in that chapel, romp the gym, enjoy the huge campus, grow to the upper grades. If only we could find an appropriate place for the treasure trove of memorabilia from the 150th sesquicentennial that also includes St. James property having its own journey and continues to grow!. Enjoy, Audrey! Your sharings are a gift as well.

    • Sandra, thanks for sharing your personal connection to Shattuck. What sweet memories your family holds.

      I agree that Faribault is home to many wonderful schools. Sometimes I wonder if we appreciate them as much as we should. Thank you for understanding and recognizing their importance in this community and beyond.

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    I love this architecture! I wonder if Shumway Hall is in any way related to the R.H. Shumway mail order seed company founder? Though the family no longer owns the company or its name, I just wondered if there was a connection.

    • The architecture is one of the facets I most appreciate about Shattuck. And the history. Some of the steps are sunken in the middle from decades of students, staff and others walking those same steps. It’s such a tangible way to experience history via those stairways.

      I can’t answer your question about the naming of Shumway Hall. It’s a good question and if any readers can inform us, I’d welcome that info.

      Here’s a brief history of Shattuck: https://www.s-sm.org/about-us/our-history/

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    I remember you talking about Shattuck before and the beauty of it is stunning. Lovely when there are so many free events to attend. Makes one want to just have time to do them all.

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    What stunning buildings. It would be fun to tour

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